Objective. The results of developmental testing of 218 children born to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive mothers and infected or uninfected themselves were compared with those of 218 children born to HIV-seronegative mothers in an ongoing cohort study in Kigali, Rwanda.

Methods. When the children were 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age, a specific neurodevelopmental examination was performed blindly by study physicians assessing gross motor development, fine motor development, language acquisition, and social contacts.

Results. Only one acute severe HIV-related encephalopathy was identified among the 50 infected children. The proportion of abnormal neurologic examinations in HIV-infected children varied from 15% to 40% according to age and was always higher than in HIV-uninfected children born to HIV-seropositive and seronegative mothers (≤5% or less of abnormal examinations at each time period). fter excluding those children with clinical ac-quired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) from the analysis, the proportion of abnormal examinations in infected children was 12.5% at 6 months, 16% at 12 months, 20% at 18 months, and 9% at 24 months of age and was still more frequent than in HIV-uninfected children. The developmental delay was principally due to significantly lower gross motor scores.

Conclusions. HIV-1-infected children are more frequently developmentally delayed than uninfected children during the first 2 years of life in this African population. This developmental delay is related to the AIDS stage of pediatric HIV infection.

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